Summer Menace

CHAUTAUQUA – Mike Martin spent three-and-a-half weeks studying and charting Chautauqua Lake last summer, attempting to help the county Planning Department with its Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Management Plan.

Thursday night, with approximately 50 people, including legislators, conservationists and concerned citizens in attendance at the Chautauqua Golf Club’s clubhouse, Martin, of Ceder Eden Environmental, LLC, discussed his findings.

“Over the course of 25 years I’ve worked a lot with aquatic plant management,” said Martin. “It used to be people were most worried about algae and phosphorus, but now with invasive species, that’s what people are concerned about.”

Martin, who has worked with managing invasive species since the early 1980s, said the ultimate goal of this study is to learn more about the lake and design treatment zones, which would better help to stop the spread and growth of SAVs by addressing location-specific needs, rather than treating the lake as one homogeneous body.

Six in-depth maps focusing on issues which concern the lake were unveiled to the audience. Specifically, the data which the six maps focused on were: Bathymetric and littoral, plant abundance, sensitive areas, man’s use of the lake, weed conflicts of man’s use and sensitivity of conflicts.

“All of you have seen the results of (invasive species),” said Martin. “The purpose of the SAVMP is to develop an integrated zone program that preserves and enhances lake uses while protecting the environmentally critical areas.”

“As you all know, we’ve been working on this SAV management plan for around six to eight months,” said Mark Geise, CCPED deputy director. “We’re here to provide you with a progress report (of the SAVMP) and to get your input on where we are. … Before I go on to the agenda, I just want to acknowledge that we’re just a little behind on this project. In full disclosure, I want you to know that we’re doing the best we can with the resources we have, and at the end of the day, we’d rather get it right than do it fast. We’re doing the best we can with what we have, and we hope you’re impressed with where we’re at today and that you see our vision going forward.”

Jeff Diers, Chautauqua County watershed coordinator, opened with a brief background of the SAVMP.

“Just for some history, the lake has had a history of weeds as early as the 1930s,” said Diers. “The lake has always had weeds since man has been here, and we’re trying to deal with the weeds as best as we can.”

Diers said that there has been a focus on how to improve the watershed around the lake, and that plan is in the process of being implemented. Going forward, Diers said the next step is to develop an in-lake plan to control SAVs.

To learn more about the SAVMP, visit www.planningchautauqua.com/index.html.